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Hugo Chavez spreads his influence in the USA

By A.M. Mora y Leon | The American Thinker

03.09.05 | About six months ago, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez scrapped his Global Exchange-stocked team of advocates charged with influencing relations with the U.S. and began courting a new class of propagandists.

They are a creative group who operate on several fronts.

We now see signs of a successful new propaganda offensive inside the media itself. Lately, there have been a spate of pro-Chavez articles in the mainstream media, probably a result of a Venezuelan press schmoozing campaign of the kind that flatters vain U.S. media people. Venezuelan officials are talking with this crowd off the record and offering promises of 'access' in a bid to get somewhat more sympathetic coverage. That way, they get friendly coverage.

Who are they these new media shillers for Chavez? They are NPR-type establishment media who present themselves as a supposedly moderate middle.

Their main agenda is to criticize Bush, so if propping up Chavez does it, they will. They will say anything to praise Chavez while ignoring Chavez's atrocious economics, his international meddling, his militarization, and his atrocious treatment of even Venezuela's left-leaning opponents. Miguel Octavio today translated an article showing that 6000 Venezuelans have been killed  by Chavez's death squads - a shocking topic this group will never take up. Commentators like Michael Shifter and writers like John Dinges, Saul Hudson and Marcela Sanchez; lead this 'Maybe Chavez-isn't-so-bad-after-all' charge.

But we can see an even more aggressive propaganda effort that surely must have come from Chavez himself - it doesn't look like Global Exchange or Fidel Castro or the media thought this up - it looks like pure Chavez, using the tools that work for him wherever he goes. In short, that tool is the crude spreading of welfare money to gain popular support.

Knowing the corrupt state of American cities, it's fertile ground.

We can see the new propaganda results in the past week or so, with Chavez's efforts to use Jesse Jackson as his pawn for the distribution of cheap gas to the poor in the U.S., creating a divisive, two-tier system of gas pricing at a time when soaring prices have left all tempers short.

We also saw it in Chavez's loud, insulting donation of a million dollars in hurricane aid to the U.S. for the recent areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

It was also there in Chavez's effort to court Boston's working class through the refurbishment of the Citgo sign near the baseball field where the Red Sox play, announced shortly after the Global Exchangers were sent packing.

Now, today's Chicago Tribune reports that Chavez is actively courting the Puerto Rican community, through financing a Boricua festival in Chicago. It's an open effort to win support from easy quarters. There are exceptions, but most Puerto Ricans are an already-left-leaning group that mostly vote Democratic in elections, and have among their community pro-Castro sympathizers. In the U.S. (but less so on the island) there are a many who are steeped in the culture of welfare handouts. That makes them fertile ground for Chavez whose entire strategy is to buy support through soup-kitchen handouts.

This isn't the only strike at Chicago. Alek Boyd recently discovered that the dodgy voting-machine company that produced Venezuela's corrupted recent elections, has just gotten a contract to run Chicago's election, a chilling prospect indeed. 

This is clearly an effort to meddle in U.S. internal affairs and influence U.S. politics. We often note Chavez's meddling in the internal affairs of Bolivia and Ecuador - though we have noted Chavista efforts even in France - but the worst and most shocking of it seems to be in his meddling in the U.S.. Chavez is striking at our soft U.S. underbelly with a strategy never considered even by Osama bin Laden in an effort to subvert our politics and bring his war in Venezuela to our shores.

This is ominous.

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